Workers' Weekly Masthead

Volume 29, Number 18, September 25, 1999

Internet Edition : Article Index

National Consultative Forum:
An Initiative to Activise the Party around the Work of the Start-Up Period to Take Britain into the 21st Century on a New, Socialist Basis

Editorial:
UN Intervention is Not Designed to Bring Peace or Independence to East Timor
UN Security Council Resolution on East Timor, September 15, 1999

Union Activists Contribute to Cuba's Health Care System

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National Consultative Forum:

An Initiative to Activise the Party around the Work of the Start-Up Period to Take Britain into the 21st Century on a New, Socialist Basis

At the recently held National Consultative Forum of the Party three important resolutions were adopted. The resolutions, reported fully in the previous Internet edition of Workers’ Weekly, spotlighted the Party’s own work to implement and elaborate the decisions of the 3rd Congress, the ongoing activities of health worker activists of RCPB(ML), and the work of the Workers’ Weekly Youth Group (WWYG).

The resolutions rounded off a day clearly aimed at putting the full weight of the collective behind all the work and continuing the Party’s line of march in the current period. In this way, each aspect of Party’s activities can be thrashed out in the units and circles of the Party collectively always ensuring individual responsibility is developed.

The Forum began with introductory remarks by the Party’s National Spokesperson, Chris Coleman. The Forum, he explained, was intended as a means to map out the Party’s immediate tasks in the current period and to assess the resolutions and tasks adopted by the Congress with a view to implementing them collectively.

He referred to the Congress, which had evaluated all the Party’s work since the 2nd Congress, particularly in the period from 1994, ratified it in the current period of retreat of revolution and sought to involve the circles and friends of the Party in all of the work. The National Spokesperson said that the Forum would give participants the opportunity to both fully assimilate and discuss the resolutions of the Congress. Collective consciousness, working together to solve all the problems, was one of the key themes of the gathering ensuring the Party acting as a conscious collective, an organised force in the movement for a pro-social programme.

Following these opening remarks a representative of the Party’s Central Committee addressed the Forum.

Echoing the comments of the National Spokesperson, the Central Committee representative said that the National Consultative Forum would give the entire Party an opportunity to consult with the Central Committee on the current stage of the work which has taken place since the 3rd Congress. In this context, he assessed the perspective for the current phase of the Party’s work as being one in which the Congress resolutions should be implemented in the immediate period as integral to the start-up period for bringing to life the slogans Forward into the 21st Century! For a Socialist Britain!

One of the most important aspects of this work was the need to stick to the plan and tasks initiated by the Congress and implementing them. Everyone should be involved in discussions on this orientation in order that unity of thinking is developed and that the tasks are seen in both their theoretical and practical aspects. Such a conception would give to theory the important position it merited. Referring to the practical work engaged in by the Party it was robustly stated that such work would have no direction without being guided by revolutionary theory, without adhering to the Party’s plan. This is especially important when Tony Blair and New Labour are coming out to lead the world in backwardness. It is necessary to engage in struggle against the anti-social offensive with the perspective that the strategic aim is socialism. The Central Committee representative reminded the Forum that each aspect of the activity engaged in by the units and collectives of the Party must be identified with its own specificity; the work in regional and other work must be organised and all the task must be carried out in this context. In this way the tasks of the Congress would be weapons in the struggle.

After briefly reviewing the conceptions elaborated by the Congress, work carried out since March 1999 was outlined. The speaker said that since the Congress each unit of the Party should have discussed the resolutions of the Congress with a view to carrying them out in the context of their own conditions and activities. The Party identified that, having summed up this initial experience, definite arrangements in the Party should be put in place which can be summed up in the slogan: The Full Weight of the Collective Behind All the Work! The experience of this period itself provided the preparation and gave rise to the necessity to develop this method and form of all of the Party’s work considering that all the work must have the force of the collective behind it. Such a method was in step with the new way of working which the needs of the times, the needs of the movement of the working class and people, demand.

As a part of this initiative, the Central Committee representative highlighted the importance of Improving the Content and Extending the Readership of Workers’ Weekly remaining at the cutting edge of the current work. The struggle to transform these conceptions into real life, into motion the material world, is what will prove decisive in the coming period.

Having elaborated the Party’s central plan, the speaker then focused on what it means for the whole Party as a system to be involved in working out its elaboration and its implementation. Central to this is conscious participation, the grappling with the work of improving the content and extending the readership of Workers’ Weekly in the context of waging the class struggle. The speaker dealt in some detail with the issues to be addressed and the problems presented for solution in this regard. He explained some of the main aspects of the thinking of the Central Committee as regards the development of Workers’ Weekly which have come to the fore in the experience since the Congress of elaborating and implementing the Party’s line and tasks. At the same time, he dealt in a living way with how the activists can be grappling with the issues in the work at their level.

Throughout the speech, the vital role of Workers’ Weekly as a weapon to smash the illusions of the "Third Way" and combat all that conciliates with these illusions, to oppose the anti-social offensive and develop a pro-social programme was emphasised, which is done in opposition to all conciliation with these illusions. The theoretical underpinning of this work was also emphasised, that it is the workers themselves who must constitute themselves the nation and vest sovereignty in the people, so that it is the workers themselves who must take up the question of setting their agenda, and become the leader of all developments in society in opening the door to progress.

The representative of the Central Committee pointed out that it is in keeping with the necessity to put the full weight of the collective behind all the work that the decision to hold the National Consultative Forum was made. In the context of the Party’s overall line of march, the Forum could also be said to initiate the third stage of the project to modernise the technical base and publish the paper as a broadsheet, which is to see this work through to completion and ultimately to fully professionalise this work.

Concluding the speech, the Central Committee representative called on the entire Party, as a vital part of the class struggle underway in society, to grasp and implement the tasks set by the Congress not as passive followers but as active participants. The question was not one of "understanding" but one of contributing on the basis of actual experience, so that the Party moves ahead on its line of march as one, united in its thinking.

The discussions which followed this part of the National Consultative Forum focused on the ongoing work to Improve the Content, Extend the Readership of Workers' Weekly, the activities of the Workers’ Weekly Youth Group and its work to build a bright future for the youth, the Readers Groups which have been established and the collective consciousness needed to push the work forward in the context of the work to affirm the rights of all.

After the adoption of the resolutions (see the Internet Edition of Workers’ Weekly, Vol.29, No.17), the formal part of the National Consultative Forum ended with the shouting of slogans and singing of The Internationale. After this, the video "Forward to the Third Congress of RCPB(ML)" was shown, which is a powerful mosaic of the Party’s history up to the historic 3rd Congress of the Party.

The National Consultative Forum was a successful day which has contributed to drawing the activists and circles of the Party as a collective into the work to take Britain Forward into the 21st Century on a new basis – For a Socialist Britain.

The Full Weight of the Collective Behind all the Work!

Improve the Content, Extend the Readership!

Article Index


EDITORIAL:

UN Intervention is Not Designed to Bring Peace or Independence to East Timor

Map of East TimorIn the last few days, British troops have entered East Timor, a few hundred miles north of Australia, as part of an international UN peacekeeping force known as Interfet. Intervention in East Timor by Britain, Australia, the US and nine other countries is one of the biggest military operations in Asia since the war in Vietnam. It follows the escalation of violence and what has already been referred to as "ethnic cleansing" perpetrated by the Indonesian army and the so-called militias that support Indonesian rule after the referendum on East Timor’s future status held in August this year. It is now estimated that over 7,000 people have been killed, some 600,000 are homeless and a further 200,000 have fled East Timor in the last few weeks. Australia will provide most of the Interfet force of at least 7,500. The US, Canada, New Zealand, Britain and other EU countries are each contributing hundreds of troops and naval support, while several Asian countries including South Korea and Thailand will also contribute significant numbers of troops. Interfet’s objectives are said to be to restore peace and security in Dili, the capital city of East Timor, to protect refugees and to provide humanitarian aid. Already however, there is speculation that even more UN troops will be needed in East Timor and that they will remain there for many years to come. East Timor, just like Kosova, has already become an international protectorate, while its invasion is being justified on humanitarian grounds

East Timor has been ruled by Indonesia since it was brutally invaded by that country in 1975. In the August ballot, the people of East Timor overwhelmingly rejected Indonesia’s offer of autonomy in favour of independence. The referendum on East Timor’s future was brokered by the UN, and involved Indonesia and Portugal, the former colonial power, but the people of East Timor had no say in this process. Their representatives warned that the violence and intimidation perpetrated by the Indonesian army and the so-called militias sponsored by them would escalate, and argued that a referendum held in such conditions would not allow the people to fully exercise their right to self-determination.

In the UN, resolutions against Indonesia’s invasion and illegal occupation of East Timor have been passed many times. But the big powers led by Britain and the US, as well as Australia, have always openly supported Indonesian rule in East Timor and zealously supplied that country with the arms to maintain its control. It is clear that those that have created all the conditions for the problems in East Timor cannot be expected to solve them now. Nor can the people of East Timor hope to exercise their right to self-determination when their country is occupied by foreign troops.

For the big powers, Indonesia has always been seen as an important economic and strategic ally in South Asia and, in the past, as a bulwark against communism. In its first year in power, the present Labour government allowed arms exports totalling over £112 million to be sold to Indonesia. Britain has continued to supply Indonesia with arms and has ensnared that country with so-called aid and ever increasing debts. It is also reported that the Labour government since it came to power has spent about £1 million in training more than 50 members of the Indonesian military in Britain. In this case, as in so many others, Labour’s so-called "ethical foreign policy" has been shown to be entirely fraudulent. It must be seen for what it is – a policy to facilitate the profit-making of the big monopolies that have long exploited Indonesia’s human and material resources as they contend for supremacy in the global market.

Following their intervention in Kosova, the big powers now feel that they can interfere anywhere in the world. Military intervention in the Balkans was an important part of the strategy of the US to dominate Europe so as to be in a position to take over Asia. Now the well-orchestrated violence in East Timor has enabled the US and the other big powers big powers to intervene directly in Southeast Asia. This is a region in which the US has been engaged in a range of warmongering activities aimed against China and North Korea, including establishing a tri-partite military alliance involving South Korea and Japan.

The intervention of the big powers is not designed to assist the people of East Timor, nor those of Indonesia or any other country in this region. On the contrary such intervention is carried out in the economic, political and strategic interests of the big powers themselves and justified on the grounds of the so-called "doctrine of international community" and the "New Strategic Concept", that is to say on the basis that Might Makes Right. What is evident is that only the peoples of this region can restore the peace, freedom and independence which the big powers are trampling on. What must be demanded is that all foreign intervention and interference in the affairs of Asia be brought to an end.

Article Index


UN Security Council Resolution on East Timor, September 15, 1999

RESOLUTION 1264 (1999)

Adopted by the Security Council at its 4045th meeting on 15 September 1999

The Security Council,

Recalling its previous resolutions and the statements of its President on the situation in East Timor,

Recalling also the Agreement between Indonesia and Portugal on the question of East Timor of 5 May 1999 and the Agreements between the United Nations and the Governments of Indonesia and Portugal of the same date regarding the modalities for the popular consultation of the East Timorese through a direct ballot and security arrangements (S/1999/513, Annexes I to III),

Reiterating its welcome for the successful conduct of the popular consultation of the East Timorese people of 30 August 1999 and taking note of its outcome, which it regards as an accurate reflection of the views of the East Timorese people,

Deeply concerned by the deterioration in the security situation in East Timor, and in particular by the continuing violence against and large-scale displacement and relocation of East Timorese civilians,

Deeply concerned also at the attacks on the staff and premises of the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET), on other officials and on international and national humanitarian personnel,

Recalling the relevant principles contained in the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel adopted on 9 December 1994,

Appalled by the worsening humanitarian situation in East Timor, particularly as it affects women, children and other vulnerable groups,

Reaffirming the right of refugees and displaced persons to return in safety and security to their homes,

Endorsing the report of the Security Council Mission to Jakarta and Dili (S/1999/976),

Welcoming the statement by the President of Indonesia on 12 September 1999 in which he expressed the readiness of Indonesia to accept an international peacekeeping force through the United Nations in East Timor,

Welcoming the letter from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia to the Secretary-General of 14 September 1999 (S/1999/975),

Reaffirming respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Indonesia,

Expressing its concern at reports indicating that systematic, widespread and flagrant violations of international humanitarian and human rights law have been committed in East Timor, and stressing that persons committing such violations bear individual responsibility,

Determining that the present situation in East Timor constitutes a threat to peace and security,

Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

1. Condemns all acts of violence in East Timor, calls for their immediate end and demands that those responsible for such acts be brought to justice;

2. Emphasises the urgent need for coordinated humanitarian assistance and the importance of allowing full, safe and unimpeded access by humanitarian organisations and calls upon all parties to cooperate with such organisations so as to ensure the protection of civilians at risk, the safe return of refugees and displaced persons and the effective delivery of humanitarian aid;

3. Authorises the establishment of a multinational force under a unified command structure, pursuant to the request of the Government of Indonesia conveyed to the Secretary-General on 12 September 1999, with the following tasks: to restore peace and security in East Timor, to protect and support UNAMET in carrying out its tasks and, within force capabilities, to facilitate humanitarian assistance operations, and authorises the States participating in the multinational force to take all necessary measures to fulfil this mandate;

4. Welcomes the expressed commitment of the Government of Indonesia to cooperate with the multinational force in all aspects of the implementation of its mandate and looks forward to close coordination between the multinational force and the Government of Indonesia;

5. Underlines the Government of Indonesia's continuing responsibility under the Agreements of 5 May 1999, taking into account the mandate of the multinational force set out in paragraph 3 above, to maintain peace and security in East Timor in the interim phase between the conclusion of the popular consultation and the start of the implementation of its result and to guarantee the security of the personnel and premises of UNAMET;

6. Welcomes the offers by Member States to organise, lead and contribute to the multinational force in East Timor, calls on Member States to make further contributions of personnel, equipment and other resources and invites Member States in a position to contribute to inform the leadership of the multinational force and the Secretary-General;

7. Stresses that it is the responsibility of the Indonesian authorities to take immediate and effective measures to ensure the safe return of refugees to East Timor;

8. Notes that Article 6 of the Agreement of 5 May 1999 states that the Governments of Indonesia and Portugal and the Secretary-General shall agree on arrangements for a peaceful and orderly transfer of authority in East Timor to the United Nations, and requests the leadership of the multinational force to cooperate closely with the United Nations to assist and support those arrangements;

9. Stresses that the expenses for the force will be borne by the participating Member States concerned and requests the Secretary-General to establish a trust fund through which contributions could be channelled to the States or operations concerned;

10. Agrees that the multinational force should collectively be deployed in East Timor until replaced as soon as possible by a United Nations peacekeeping operation, and invites the Secretary-General to make prompt recommendations on a peacekeeping operation to the Security Council;

11. Invites the Secretary-General to plan and prepare for a United Nations transitional administration in East Timor, incorporating a United Nations peacekeeping operation, to be deployed in the implementation phase of the popular consultation (phase III) and to make recommendations as soon as possible to the Security Council;

12. Requests the leadership of the multinational force to provide periodic reports on progress towards the implementation of its mandate through the Secretary-General to the Council, the first such report to be made within 14 days of the adoption of this resolution;

13. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

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Article Index


 

Union Activists Contribute to Cuba's Health Care System

British trades union activists have donated 17 ambulances, 14 busses and several mini-busses to the Cuban health care system. The activists are from UNISON and GMBU, as well as the T&GWU and other unions.

The contribution is estimated to be worth almost £1 million, and is part of a solidarity campaign called "A Ship for Cuba". This campaign has been known as the Salud Project among union activists. Union activists at hospitals and ambulance stations up and down the country have been collecting medical and other equipment. Transport workers have also persuaded their firms to donate used buses. The aim of the project is to break the US blockade of Cuba and in solidarity with the Cuban people.

The donation also includes powdered milk, vitamins and clothing as well as the medical aid. Cuban Health Minister Carlos Dotres received the donation in the Cuban capital Havana.

At the official ceremony, it was announced that a second ship with donations for Cuban hospitals will soon set sail for the island.

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